friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A look at the Tau Codex Part 5: Heavy Support

original post: The Dark Mechanicum

In Part 5 I'm going to look at that much envied section in the Tau Codex. Heavy Support.

XV88 Broadside Team
These have always been a Tau players 'go to' unit for anti-tank. Forget hammerheads, with their BS4 single shot, Forget Fusion Blasters with their 12" range. 72" with S10 AP1 twin-linked. On a T4 2+ platform. People often fielded 6 of these, if not sometimes more. So whats changed?

Er lots. There has been alot of contention about these changes in the weeks up to Codex release. They've gone down 5 points from a base of 70 to 65, but now get the free battlesuit upgrades. They keep the TL SMS, which has arguably got better. Now it has the 'Ignores Cover' rule and doesn't need LoS to its target. However they lost the S10 railgun. It's now a heavy rail rifle. S8 AP1 Heavy 1 60" Range. Ouch. Thats a fairly big drop for only a 5 point reduction and completely changes Tau lists. Now we have to look elsewhere for our main anti-armour shooting. They now get to take a Shas'vre with Ld9 which is nice, can change their rail rifle for a S7 AP4 Heavy 4 TL missile pod for free and change the SMS for Plasma rifles, as they could before, but for 5pts now. They can also take a seeker missile for 5pts each and up to one item from the support list. they can also take two drones each and are the only unit now able to take missile drones. This is a standard drone with S7 AP4 heavy 2 missile pod. Oh yeah they can take the bonding knife if they really want to. Don't.

So how do these upgrades and option effect us? Well they aren't going to be used to kill landraiders anymore. That's for sure. Forcing us to turn back to unreliable Hammerheads and Fusion blaster equipped Piranhas and Battlesuits. Before they had to take one support system, now they have the option. However the Tau lost access to the Advanced Stabilisation System, which is huge! This gave our Broadsides the Slow and Purposeful rule, allowing them to move and shoot. This is gone...Now your broadsides, especially with their reduced range, really have to pick a good place to set up. Every turn you spend moving is one you are only shooting snap shots, or using up extra markerlights to boost your BS. The missile pod broadsides now throw out a silly number of shots. Between 3 suits and 6 drones they can throw out 24 S7 missiles, 12 of them TL, with 12 TL S5 missiles thrown in for good measure. This amount of high strength shooting obviously benefits greatly from markerlight hits. These obviously need more thought for placement as they only have 36" range. All suits have access to either Skyfire or Interceptor, but not both. Personally I'm leaning towards the Interceptor option, especially with missile pods. For starters its cheaper. The amount of shooting and twin linking means that even hitting on 6's you are going to score a few hits, and most flyers are lightly armoured. Having interceptor means you are also dangerous to drop podding marines and other deep striking units within 36".

The new broadside models are lovely, but I could only afford 2 and need to have a serious think about how to equip them now. Whether to go with heavy rail rifles or missile pods? Although I think missiles is probably the way to go I love the look of them holding those rail rifles in their hands. I have 3 of the old broadsides though. I could easily remove their rail rifles from their shoulders and attach additional missile pods and rebase them, but they won't look as nice.

Whatever their configuration I can see them being deployed with a Neurochip Commander for Monster and Tank Hunter, along with having a T5 character at the front, possibly with 2x TL missile pods. Giving tank hunter makes the missile pod equipped suits lethal to anything up to AV13. It does seem that 12 S7 shots is much better than 3 S8. There's also the option of including Shadowsun to give them shrouded and stealth, along with the infiltrate option for positioning them after your opponents setup. Whatever the setup these suits aren't going to be the threat to AV14 that they used to be, and I suppose in a way that's ok. Its not right that a Landraider knows it's going to get blown up turn 1 reliably and this forces us to work for those kills.

Hammerhead gunship
Everyones favourite tank. Tau players love them and non-tau players hate them. They are one of the best tanks in the game but struggle, efficiency wise against some of the Forgeworld tanks, I'm looking at you Warphunter.... 13/12/10 AV with a S10 AP1 railcannon and S6 AP4 submunition round in the last codex. Disruption pod and multi tracker were standard items to purchase, allowing them to shoot, but not move, like a fast vehicle and get a 3+ cover save over 12".

Well for starters Multi-trackers on vehicles are gone. This slows our tanks down to 6" if they want to shoot at full BS, and luckily thats still 4. This is a fairly big nerf in my book. 12" was great. They still keep the S10 Railcannon, but have to pay 5 pts for the S6 AP4 large blast submunition. The railcannon can be swapped for free for an Ion cannon. S7 AP3 Heavy 3 or overcharged at S8 AP3 large blast, Gets Hot!. Luckily the bare bones Hammerhead went down from 160 (with railgun and drones) to 125, although the cost with an Ion cannon remains the same. the Hammerhead also gets an odd secondary weapon option. For free you can either take a TL burst cannon with S5 AP5 18" range or TL SMS with S5 AP5 30" range, ignores cover and no LoS needed. Seems like a no brainer? My guess is this is an error and will be errata'd fairly swiftly to SMS not being twin-linked. I'm going to hold off on modelling all my hammerheads back to SMS for now. You can also take up to 2 seeker missiles, just like before, but they are now 8pts and a bit better than they were.

You should still take the disruption pod and submunition. meaning that one of these is going to come in, normally, at 145pts. Unlike the last edition the Ion cannon is actually worth taking now. A S8 AP3 large blast can seriously ruin a squad of power armour.

With broadsides having the heavy rail rifle instead of rail cannon I can see me fielding 2 Hammerheads now with every list. Stick sensor spines on them and hide them in the middle of ruins etc.

Sky Ray missile Defence Gunship
This tank has always suffered greatly against the other heavy support slots. 6 S8 AP3 shots a game seemed shitty compared to S10 AP1.

Like the Hammerhead this has gone down in price. It now comes with Gun Drones as standard and a free Velocity tracker, the only vehicle with one, for 115pts. It still has 6 seeker missiles and 2 networked markerlights. It can also take vehicle upgrades. It's just a pity this doesn't include the Interceptor wargear. It also has the strange secondary weapon option seen on the Hammerhead so SMS is the way to go for now.

Having 2 velocity tracker equipped marker lights means you could hit a flyer with markerlights and then boost the snap fire of another unit up to BS3 when shooting at the same flyer, which would be really nice for missile pod broadsides. The seeker missiles got a bit of a boost in that they ignore cover and can fire independently of markerlight hits. But a vehicle can still only fire 1 a turn other than using marker tokens.

I'd like to say I'll be using a Skyray, but with other anti-air units out there I can't see me fielding one still in 6th. If broadsides were still S10 then I would stick one in with 2 x 3man XV88 teams for my anti vehicle and have a skyray for anti-air. But with the railgun drop on the suits I want to take 2 Hammerheads every game and one team of broadsides, likely equipped with missiles.

Sniper Drone team
Lets face it. very few Tau players ever took these before. at 80pts a team a full set of 3 cost 240pts, the same as 3 broadsides. They were AP3 and our crisis suits tended to fill that AP3/2 niche for us.

But boy have they changed in 6th. first off they are now a full 22pts cheaper and can be taken in groups of up to 12, 9 sniper drones and 3 BS5 marksmen. The drones lose their rail rifle but now come with Pulse sniper rifle. 48" SX AP5 Sniper Rapid fire. This is huge. First off due to having drone controllers the marksmen make this unit BS5. Secondly, having 48" rapid fire means you are firing 2 shots under 24" and these benefit from the Ethereals Storm of fire rule for 3 shots under 24". Brilliant. 9 Drones are now firing out 27 BS5 shots that always wound on 4+ with rending and pinning. Not only that with the new jet pack and movement rules the drones can still move and fire as they are relentless, leaving the marksmen to sit tight and fire markerlights. So you get all those nice sniper shots and 3 BS5 markerlights all for 174 points. Oh and they have stealth and are majority T4, with 4+ save. Lovely. Arguably much better points cost than such things as marine sniper scouts. If you need to move them then they still get to fire the sniper rifles, just not the markerlights. Oh well I can live with that.

However..... they share the same problem as the Skyray. Can they contend with broadsides and hammerheads? Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. But they are worth trying out!

So there we are. A summary of the heavy support slots for the new Tau. As with alot of the book nothing has massively changed. theres just been tweaks that make everything work better.

For the last look at the Tau Codex I'll be taking a look at Warlord traits and having a brief overview of the Codex to finish.

Posted by Furstenburg at 10:49 AM

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